There is no doubt that PopCap are the reigning champions of casual gaming, but they didn’t get that way without doing their homework. PopCap recently partnered up with Goldsmiths University to conduct a study on how parents feel about gaming in general, as well as casual titles, and the final results are quite intriguing to say the least.
During a survey penned by the developer, 32 percent of parents claimed to actively play computer games with their kids, with 80 percent of that number claiming that this game time was quality time, and one in three three reported greater bonding with their children as a result of playing these games. One in five parents claimed that playing computer games have helped their children develop a better understanding of technology.
I’m not a parent, but I can actually say the video games I grew up playing taught me quite a bit when it comes to understanding technology, as when you are a kid and you want to play a game, you will absorb any amount of information to do so.
This study also helped debunk the myth that video game play comes at the cost of ‘healthier’ pursuits, with a 3/4 of parents claiming their computer game-playing children also exercise regularly and eat healthily. A third of parents believe that their children are able to concentrate better thanks to playing casual games, while 53 per cent believe that their children have improved problem solving skills thanks to playing casual games.
This is yet another interesting tidbit, as the mainstream media usually try to tear down and blame video games for just about everything, so hopefully more parents will start using certain games as a tool for education rather than just a form of recreation. We are a long way from that day I’m afraid, but maybe someday we can actually see this method be applied to better get kids involved with the devices they will be using for jobs later in life.
The study also shows that the growth in casual games has resulted in children as young as two becoming proficient in the use of smartphones and other tablet devices, and over a quarter of parents (27 percent) reported that their children borrowed their smartphone every day to play casual games. These findings pretty much go with what I stated above.
PopCap & Goldsmith each released a statement based on the study:
Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Reader in Psychology at Goldsmiths said: “These findings are important because they highlight the social benefits of playing videogames. Previous research has tended to look only at the individual effects of video games, but in the era of social networking games appear to play a vital role in enhancing social relationships. The fact that both parents and grandparents are using games to connect with their children and grandchildren, and quite successfully, suggests that video games can improve social skills and make a key contribution to both effective parenting and child development.”
Cathy Orr, Senior Director of International PR, PopCap said: “As technology becomes even more consumer-friendly, we at PopCap are delighted to see videogames playing an increasing role within family leisure time. Videogames are becoming as popular a mainstream lifestyle entertainment as movies or music and finding a place in family life alongside traditional parlour or board games – or in many cases, providing a new videogame format for family favourite board games. PopCap has conducted a lot of research to prove that casual games are not only extremely fun but can also aid stress relief – undoubtedly a positive for family members across the board!”
You know, I really respect PopCap for pooring in some funds to launch this research, as they are actually trying to teach parents that games are not all about blood, guts, and zombies. We all have seen facts come out already on how gaming can lead to smarter kids that are quicker to adapt with new technology, and this study just emphasizes that point even further.